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The Role of Veterans Affairs in Support of DOD in Biodefense

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,21 May 2015

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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In 2001, the United States suffered from a bioterrorist anthrax attack. The US government recognized that it was unprepared to respond to such bioterrorist attacks. This monograph will argue that the Department of Veterans Affairs VA provides robust biodefense support to the Department of Defense DOD. Bioterrorist agents, like anthrax, are easily accessible and inexpensive weapons of mass destruction and may be highly favored by terrorist organizations. Given the dramatic expansion of terrorism in both Africa and Middle East, it is not a question of whether terrorists will attack the United States again, but when and how. Since 2001, the VA has instituted several biodefense strategies. However, the White House report on the VA has recently criticized agency leadership, which may conceivably render VAs current emergency preparedness process unsuitable to support the DOD and the Department of Homeland Security DHS in a future bioterrorist attack. This monograph proposes several ways to enhance VAs biodefense capabilities to provide proper support to the DOD and the DHS. In addition, VA can also use its network of facilities to conduct surveillance of imminent endemic of infectious diseases. Based on these findings, the monograph concludes that the VA can play a very important supportive role in DODs biodefense program.


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